Going to California...
Unless you've been stuck in a cave somewhere, held hostage by extremists, fallen deep into a coma, been discovered living on arsenic, or, worst of all, not been following me online, you'll know that we've up and moved to San Francisco, California, so that I can go to work for Twitter.
I've always harboured a desire to move to California. The promise of better weather holds sway in my subconscious, and the Americans have some ways of doing things that just seem right. Of course, it's not without its problems too - applying for visas took a great deal longer than I expected. We'd planned on a moving date, which we couldn't make, and had to move all our possessions into some expensive storage while we camped out at my parents' house for six weeks, or in metric, nine eternities.
Speaking of metric, they don't have that here. I don't mind really - the English switch to the metric system is a bit half-arsed. We still deal in miles for distance. Hell we measure weight in stones, which is surely the most imperial measure ever (equivalent to fourteen pounds, depending on what you're weighing). And we'll go ahead and measure temperature in Fahrenheit when it's hot, because it sounds better (You can't say "ooh, it's a scorching 37 degrees out there.") We know about inches, sure, but we know better than to use them in science. We know about kilometres too, but we think they're a bit French. Basically, the English are double-dating both sides, and are comfortable with either.
Dates, though, the dates. God, the dates. They put the month first. I can't see it as anything other than absolute lunacy. I'd accept any of their dodgy measures, even fluid ounces, if they'd agree to wake up and switch to a dd/mm/yyyy system. I'd go further - I'll agree to drop the 'u' in colour. And humour. And flavour. And yes, ok, even favourite. It'll be a wrench, but we'll accept that - just use normal dates. More, I'll give more. Tell you what, you can have Prince Charles. I think the Queen would agree to it. You can just have him. Send him to dinners or something. No more to be said - you guys switch dates, we'll hand him over, and we'll start saying 'howdy' and 'bucks' and 'douchebag'.
Ok, I've started ranting. I didn't mean to rant, I meant to write up the move here. I could rant about the thin-walled buildings with hardwood floors that keep us awake at night, or the funny victorian steam filled radiators that have no controls that whistle, or the laundries in the basements rather than the kitchen, or the weird half-inch gaps in American toilet doors that let you see out. But I'm determined to be positive, so I'll keep quiet. Pretend I never said anything...
We've found ourselves in a temporary apartment in the Marina of San Francisco. It's a nice, quiet neighbourhood, next to Fort Mason park, which has beautiful views of the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz. We've just managed to find a more permanent apartment just across the road, so the move will be easy, but then our full belongings won't arrive until early January anyway, since they're coming by boat. We decided that this would be a proper move, so we moved as much as we could. And since the printer-cartridge security issue last month, they cancelled air shipments, so everything went on the boat. But we're doing ok with what we have.
I've managed to get a Social Security Number, and a bank account. We've found things are easy if you learn the lingo, fill in the right documents and go at the right times, to avoid queues. American forms, on the whole, are a usability nightmare, boxes all over the place, but you get used to it. Getting a driving license seems a bit more tricky, especially since I've only just passed my test at home. It's not so important though, so I'm happy to wait a bit.
Twitter itself is proving a fantastic place to work. I haven't really worked in any of the large online brands before, like Facebook, Digg, or Google. Lots of other new starters have, so the free (good quality, cooked) lunch, free drinks fridges, evening pizza and beer, and so forth is nothing new to them. For me, it's great: I don't have to go out to find a decent latte (though I do have to make it), I don't need to run to the nearest, dodgiest sandwich shop.
The guys who work at Twitter really know their stuff and the communication is unbelievable. It's one of the things they're really keen on, to trust your colleagues. You have to switch mindset from the usual, "I don't know this guy, he's going to be an idiot who ruins my project" to "I don't know this guy. Maybe he can add something." It's weird. But also genius.
The first week was new hire orientation. It was great to have a full week dedicated to seeing how the company worked, and what the other teams did. The next two weeks I've spent getting the hang of the codebase, and fixing a few basic bugs. It's been good.
Twitter is often in the headlines for one thing or another, or sometimes nothing at all. So you'll probably find I talk about it less. But hopefully, now I don't spent two hours a day on the tube to work, I'll be able to do some things besides work, and I'll be able to talk about that instead. I've already signed up for the marathon here.
I can run to work. It's amazing. It takes me about 30-40 mins to run in. I skirt around the coast to keep the run flat (since I have to carry my work clothes on my back), and to avoid the red traffic lights. As I run into town, I run towards the spectacular Bay Bridge, then turn in to the city just before I reach it. On the way home, I come up a short hill at the end to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, across the park. It's a beautiful run, and a great way to burn off the excess free-food calories.
So that was a bit rambling, but in summary: work:good, flat:good, food:good, living:good, arcane date system:bad. Overall, we're very happy here. :)
Thanks for reading! I guess you could now share this post on TikTok or something. That'd be cool.
Or if you had any comments, you could find me on Twitter.